Several community members spoke at the most recent board meeting, expressing concerns about the possible changes in the athletic departments at both East and West. A proposal that would have reduced the hours the athletic directors were available to perform their duties throughout the week was recently rescinded.
Community member Charlie Woodford said, “That’s just not worth it for all the work that the AD’s have to do. I think people have a misconception about what’s going on here because they’ve worked together for so long. Everybody knows what everybody’s job is. They just work like a well-oiled machine.”
Mr. Woodford went on to say that the time allotted under the original proposal wouldn’t be enough time for the AD’s and assistant AD’s to perform their duties.
“The teachers union and the administration agreed to rescind [the proposal],” said Superintendent Dr. Dosier.
Dr. Dosier also spoke of the district’s financial woes, saying “There’s not a lot of good news right now with our finances … I’ve had the misfortune of coming in at a time when we’ve had to make cuts. I’ve not made one cut or not recommended one cut that people have been happy with. My focus ... is about impacting students the least. We do not want to talk about having higher class sizes until we absolutely have to. We want to make as many cuts that don’t impact the classroom as possible before we go to classroom cuts.”
Assistant Superintendant Brian Mentzer said the education fund is currently operating at -4.752 million. “It’s hard to celebrate that,” said Mr. Mentzer, “but it’s operating at less of a deficit than it was a month prior.” The operating and maintenance fund is also showing a negative balance, operating at a deficit of 1.259 million. The overall aggregate balance according to Mentzer is 5.915 million. “The good news,” said Mentzer, “is that we still have some reserves. We have not had to access our line of credit yet. We are hopeful that the state will come through on the mandated categorical payments.” The state of Illinois currently owes the district 2.1 million dollars.
The district’s recently-amended budget will be on display in the district office until the June board meeting.
The district also approved the purchase of new textbooks for an applied mathematics course. The total purchase cost for the 80 textbooks came in at $9,328.61.
Several retirements were announced, but no new teaching positions were filled.
The board recognized West English teacher Nick Johnson and East administrative assistant Barb Hermann for their outstanding service. The board also recognized two students for earning the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest advancement rank in the Boy Scouts, and three students for their acceptance into various military academies.
Apparently a lot of our members are itching to do some professional development over the summer. Because of the overwhelming response to the district's offer to purchase 40 books for those interested in a little professional development this summer—over 40 teachers at East signed up on the first day, and West's list is growing almost as fast—the union has agreed to match the district and pay for the purchase of another 40 books! Copies of Ten Things That Matter from Assessment to Grading by Tom Schimmer will be available to the first 80 members who sign up, but we're encouraging our members to share them with your fellow members once you're finished. From what we've heard, the book is a lot better than it actually sounds. :)
BFT's executive council has been discussing the option of providing even more professional development for our members in the future, so be on the lookout for more opportunities next year.
Here are some choice quotes from the ruling:
"Our economy is and has always been subject to fluctuations, sometimes very extreme fluctuations," Karmeier said.
"The General Assembly may find itself in crisis, but it is a crisis which other public pension systems managed to avoid and… it is a crisis for which the General Assembly itself is largely responsible,"
"The financial challenges facing state and local government in Illinois are well known and significant. In ruling as we have today, we do not mean to minimize the gravity of the state’s problems or the magnitude of the difficulty facing our elected representatives."
"It is our obligation, however, just as it is theirs, to ensure that the law is followed. That is true at all times. It is especially important in times of crisis when, as this case demonstrates, even clear principles and long-standing precedent are threatened. Crisis is not an excuse to abandon the rule of law."
Read more on the Chicago Tribune's website...
Proud alumnus, union member, and educator in District #201 since 2006.
Dr. Hentze is the author of High Finance with Hentze, a monthly blog that provides news about District 201's current financial state.